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Dull disasters?

How planning ahead will make a difference

Oxford University Press USA

In recent years, typhoons have struck the Philippines and Vanuatu; earthquakes have rocked Haiti, Pakistan, and Nepal; floods have swept through Pakistan and Mozambique; and droughts have hit Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. All of these natural disasters led to loss of life and livelihoods. Recovery will take years. As the climate changes, there is also an increase in the type of extreme weather events that cause these disasters. But do extreme events have to turn into disasters with huge loss of life and suffering?

In DULL DISASTERS?: How Planning Ahead Will Make a Difference, authors Daniel J. Clarke and Stefan Dercon show that by harnessing lessons from finance, political science, economics, psychology, and the natural sciences, countries can be far better prepared to deal with disasters. The insights presented can lead to practical ways in which governments, civil society, private firms, and international organizations can work together to reduce the risks to people and economies when a disaster looms. Responses to disasters then become less emotional, less political, less headline-grabbing, and more business as usual and effective.

DULL DISASTERS? offers a range of solutions that have been implemented around the world to respond to disasters; will give you an overview of the evidence on what works and what doesn't; and will present a conceptual framework that ties all of this together. DULL DISASTERS? provides a fresh perspective from two experts in the field, highlighting specifically the crucial issue of disaster risk financing, which is often not discussed, and , presenting a set of lessons and principles to guide future thinking, research, and practice in this area.


DANIEL J. CLARKE is an actuary and development economist who works as a Senior Insurance Specialist in the Disaster Risk Financing & Insurance Program, a joint program between the World Bank Group and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. Over the last decade he has worked with more than twenty developing country governments to develop efficient, cost-effective solutions for enhanced financial protection against disasters. He has a first class degree from Cambridge University in Mathematics in Computer Science and a D.Phil. in Economics from the University of Oxford, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries. vulnerability.

STEFAN DERCON is Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford, and a Professorial Fellow of Wolfson College. He is also Chief Economist of the UK Department for International Development. Previously he taught in Belgium and at the University of Addis Ababa. His interest is in applying microeconomics and statistics to problems of development. He has worked on risk and poverty, agriculture and rural institutions, political economy, childhood poverty, social and geographic mobility, micro-insurance, and measurement issues related to poverty and vulnerability.


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